Salon du Rhum Jamaica 1990 & 1993

Two things that I particularly like, Salon du Rhum Belgique & Hampden oldies together. Also there’s no need to remind that 1990 & 1993 vintages are legendary and probably also my favorites. This is enough good reasons to add this duo to our well furnished Hampden library, right? They both come with C<>H mark. Here we go!

Salon du Rhum Jamaica 1990-2021 (54.5%, 228 bottles, C<>H)

Colour: Gold.
Nose: Makes you forget the Belgian rain for some few moments, we’re now on a Jamaican sunny beach, yeah. The nose is surprisingly round, fruity as expected but far from being extreme regarding the high ester level, ageing did the job. We have candied pineapples, candied lemons, overripe bananas, oranges, buttered buns, vanilla, glue, marzipan, salted black olives, brine, fermented fruits, some vinegar drops, custard cream and icing sugar. The nose sweetness and roundness is really surprising, it’s complex and well balanced.
Mouth: Oily and fluid texture with some astringency reminding you actually taste a C<>H Hampden. The alcohol plays in the background and let this gentleman express himself freely. You couldn’t miss pineapples, more caramelized there. Then we have wood, vinegar, lemon acidity, bananas, mangoes, grapefruits, some mentholated freshness, glue, solvents, grilled sardines, salted black olives, brown sugar, white pepper, ginger bread and marzipan. The first sip was surprisingly sour but then it turns to a profile closer to the nose one with complexity and roundness.
Finish: Long enough. Vanilla, some smoke, canon powder, cold ashes, orange peels and some brine.

A great ’90 Hampden with mysterious facets, it took more time and trials to identify details than usual and I enjoyed playing this game. This nose is very complete, the first sip is surprising and overall it’s balanced, complex with a nice length. Great selection!

Score: 91

Salon du Rhum Jamaica 1993-2021 (57.8%, 187 bottles, C<>H)

Colour: Gold.
Nose: This one is more punchy than his old brother, almost rowdy. Despite the ABV gap between them there’s lot of similarities between this one’s nose and the Nobilis ‘93 (which is the benchmark here) one. Pineapples, bananas, lemon peels, mangoes, acidulous candies, solvents, solvents, polished wood, glue, fully cooked caramel, grapefruits, tobacco, black olives, grilled sardines, mint and some thyme.
Mouth: Sweeter than expected, the texture is slightly too fluid but it’s also very few astringent for this mark. The fruity notes are more candied than the nose ones for my greatest pleasure. Candied pineapples, candied lemons, mangoes, fresh pineapples juice, oranges, grapefruits, acidulous candies, buttered buns, polished wood, brown sugar, brine, smoked herrings, mint, petrol and some iodized notes. It shows a great balance between sugary, fruity and iodized notes.
Finish: Long and refined. Burnt wood, smoke, dried fruits, vanilla sugar, marzipan and some exotic fruits.

Slightly less complex than his old brother but so effective with such a mastery from the beginning to the end. I would’ve preferred a more complete mouth but in return this is not aggressive at all, with very few astringence and above all, it have this little extra thing we’re looking for. Good job for this very nice selection.

Score: 92

Those bottlings are a great proof that Hampden and high esters can rhyme with balance and mastery. I slightly preferred the ’93 release but that was tight, as always your personal taste will decide between those great bottlings. Congratulations to Vincent and the Salon du Rhum team for these selections, cheers!

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